10 Clever Holiday Gifts for Foodies

No need to surf the web to find gifts this holiday season. Gourmet Gab has hooked you up! I have complied a list of the ten coolest, most creative, hilarious, funky, inventive and brilliant gifts of 2011.

Gift these gadgets to a foodie friend and profession chef. I promise they will be thrilled to show off their new gizmo…plus you’ll get major brownie points! Christmas, Hanukkah, office party, or white elephant exchange–these gifts are sure to make a lasting impression.

1. “Home Made” Cookie Stamper |  $20.00  |  Fredflare.com

If you take the time to make home-made cookies, why not stamp ‘em so people will know! Bakers deserve all the appreciation they can get for their goodies.

2. Mustache Flared Mug  |  $8.00  |  UrbanOutfitter.com

Ever dreamt of growing your own handlebar stashe but just couldn’t make it happen? Fear not! This mug will fool anyone who sees you sipping a cup of joe.

3. Pop Rock Diamond Ring Bottle Opener  |  $12.00  |  FredFlare.com

Diamonds are a girls best friend! Pop open your next beverage with this dazzling 20 karat rock. Cheers!

4.  “Cut the Cheese” Knife Set  |  $20.00  | UncommonGoods.com

There will be no embarrassment next time you cut the cheese…because you’ll be doing it with these fancy knifes. The only smells will be aged Cheddar and poignant Blue Cheese!

5. Better Plate than Never Flashcard Set  |  $10.99  |  ModCloth.com

Challenge the knowledge of your self-proclaimed-professional-cook friends or spark conversation at the dinner table with some culinary vocabulary.

6. Elevate Spatula Set  |  $24.00  |  UncommonGoods.com

Save yourself some clean up with these elevated spatulas. No batter on the counter…for the win!

7. Bacon Bandages  |  $4.95  |  McPhee.com

For all the bacon lovers out there: Why not heal the pain of wound with your favorite cut of meat? Just wait for people’s reactions!

8. Bakers Necklace  |  $19.99  |  Etsy.com

Wear a bit of culinary inspiration wherever you go with this sweet baking utensils necklace made of measuring spoons and a cupcake pan!

9. MIX STIX™  |  $12.99  |  Fred.com

These wooden spoons will stir up your cooking by “keepin’ rhythm in the kitchen!” Purchase them on Amazon.

10. Sweeter When Specific Measuring Spoons  |  $7.99  |  ModCloth.com

Your cupcakes, or anything you bake, will turn out even sweeter when you measure your ingredients with these mini cupcake measuring spoons.

Have you seen a clever gift idea you’d like to share? I’d love to know about it. Comment below!

Merry Christmas. Happy shopping.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is the representative flavor of the Thanksgiving season. It seems like every where I turn, pumpkin specials are being served–pumpkin lattes at coffee shops, pumpkin ravioli at restaurants, pumpkin cookies at bakeries. Here are some ways to reinvent how you enjoy pumpkin in your own home.

Background

Pumpkins are in the squash family, which describes why they have a similar taste, texture and appearance to butternut squash. The Worlds Healthiest Foods website says that all winter squashes are excellent sources of immune-supportive vitamin A

Canned pumpkin can be found in the grocery store year round. While pumpkin is in-season though, take the opportunity to make your own pumpkin puree. This article breaks down the process step-by-step. It is rather easy. By making your puree, you know it has zero artificial preservatives.

Pumpkin Seeds

If you plan to roast your pumpkin at home, make sure to save the seeds to roast them and eat. The pumpkin seeds are a plentiful source of minerals and zinc. Here is a short video to show how simple it is to roast pumpkin seeds yourself. They can be seasoned sweet or savory and can be added to many dishes.

Recipes

Now let’s talk about all the fun you can have with pumpkin recipes. Here are my three picks to mix up the pumpkin flavors you savor this month.

1. Start your day off right with these homemade Pumpkin Waffles. The batter is quick to mix up and the aroma of the pumpkin will linger in your home all morning.

Pumpkin Waffles from Smitted Kitchen.

2. Go the nontraditional route and serve these Moist Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting from the Pioneer Woman as your Thanksgiving dessert. They will take about half the time to make and are light so you can have seconds.

3. Snack on this Pumpkin Spice Granola, add it to a yogurt parfait, or sprinkle it over some vanilla bean ice cream. Yum!

Pumpkin Spice Granola from Baking Bites

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sweet Potatoes

When I think of Sweet Potatoes, my mind jumps to Thanksgiving Dinner. But who says this veggie can’t be enjoyed every day of November? While Sweet Potatoes are in season, I urge you to incorporate this wonder-food into dishes throughout the month, instead of just on November 24th. Here’s why…

Health Benefits

Sweet potatoes are rich in the immune-boosting antioxidant called beta-carotene. This nutrient gives vegetables their orange color. Sweet potatoes also have anti-inflammatory benefits and hearty amounts of Vitamins A and C. Keep the skin of the potato on while cooking–it holds much of the vegetable’s nutrients!

Sweet Potatoes vs. Yams

It is a common misconception that the word “yam” is synonymous with “sweet potato.” In reality, yams are a part of a completely different vegetable family than sweet potatoes. The confusion between sweet potatoes and yams is so great that the USDA requires grocery stores to label sweet potatoes as both “sweet potatoes” and “yams” so people who typically (but incorrectly) call sweet potatoes “yams” can find the vegetable. Take away tip: Only call the rose-skinned, orange-flesh colored vegetables sweet potatoes, not yams! 

Buying Sweet Potatoes

When buying sweet potatoes, look for smooth, unbruised skin and a firm feel. Store your potatoes out of the fridge because cooler temperatures cause the starch in the potatoes to turn into sugar.

Here’s a recipe that you can make any day this Fall. My mom and I used to make this Roasted Vegetable dish almost weekly. I would come home after school and munch on the cold leftovers for a nutritious snack!

Gourmet Gab’s Roasted Veggies

  • 4 Sweet Potatoes
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence (or Italian Seasoning)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Optional: Yellow and green zucchini, red potatoes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Wash the vegetables and cut into 1/2″ cubes. (Leave the skin on.) Put veggies onto pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with seasoning. Toss veggies to distribute oil and spices evenly. Cook in oven for 30-45 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Enjoy!

Make a large batch and warm up in the oven for leftovers. Add to salads, pastas, or serve as a side dish.

Caramel Apples

The temperature is cooling down here in Arizona so I can finally tell that the holiday season has arrived! Apples are in-season during Fall, which makes it the perfect time for Homemade Caramel Apples. The crispy, juicy and slightly tart flavors of apples contrast perfectly with the chewy and creamy texture of caramel.

This holiday season, turn baking time into family fun. Make a batch of Caramel Apples with the whole kin. The apples can be personalized with an infinite amount of creative toppings. You can even visit an apple orchard to pick your own, fresh apples!

Simple Semi-Homemade Recipe

If you’re in a time crunch you can purchase premade caramels at grocery stores. Unwrapping all the individual caramel pieces can be tedious, but melting the candy on the stove top is effortless. The caramel might taste somewhat processed, but toppings with detract from the flavor of the caramel.

Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe is simple. I love the idea of an Apple Pie Caramel Apple.

Homemade Caramel Apples from Brown Eyed Baker.

Homemade Caramel Recipe

If you are ready to go all out gourmet, take a little extra time to make a homemade caramel. The quality of the caramel will be noticeable and the flavor will be so good you will not even want toppings to distract. Keep in mind that patience is the most important quality to make caramel. Use a low heat and stir frequently to ensure burnt-free flavor.

The Family Kitchen presents a basic recipe for “Perfect Caramel Apples.”

Perfect Caramel Apples from The Family Kitchen

Gift Idea

These Caramel Apples are going to turn out so good you’ll want to eat them for every meal. To avoid the temptation, you can turn these cute treats into gifts. Wrap in a cellophane gift bag and tie with cute holiday ribbon.

Our Best Bites decked out her Caramel Apples with super creative toppings. Be sure to check them out, along with her unique caramel recipe!

Caramel Apple Gifts from Our Best Bites

Happy November!